What's worse than a bad economy for a county fair?


Last night, the Carbon County Fair near Palmerton was forced to tolerate both. A mostly steady rain early in the evening, with the economy certainly not playing in the fair's favor.

Despite the two negatives, there still was decent attendance. Much thanks for the attendance goes to the annual demolition derby staged in the fair arena, and a debut by Doug Brewin, who did a tribute to country singer Alan Jackson. A capacity arena crowd ignored the elements and watched as cars crashed into each other on the muddy infield until there was only one still moving.

The fair continues through Sunday and the National Weather Service is calling for mild temperatures tonight with no rain, sunny skies tomorrow, and partly cloudy skies on Sunday with only a 20 percent chance of rain.

Earl Reabold, a fair director, said Children's Day was held as usual with two bicycles awarded.

The rain started falling at about 5 p.m. and stopped shortly after 8. As a result, all rides and stands operated as usual.

Reabold said despite the rain, "People came out. The attendance was down, but it was still decent."

Tonight, one of the world's best-known Elvis impersonators, Ryan Pelton, will be performing in concert at 7 and 9 p.m.

Pelton has appeared with Celine Dion on American Idol, performing a duet of "If I Can Dream." In addition, Pelton plays the role of Elvis in the Dakota Fanning film, "Hound Dog."

This is a return appearance for Pelton. Reabold said that last year, Pelton drew the largest attendance in the fair's history.

"He drew the biggest crowd we ever had," Reabold said. "He's an amazing performer and the people love him."

Also tonight, Layne Roberts, aka "The Doctor" on Penn's Peak Radio, will open at 5 p.m.

An antique field stock tractor pull will be held in the arena at 6 p.m. An additional admission fee is charged for the tractor pull.

Tomorrow's entertainment includes country singers The Cramer Brothers performing at 4 and 7 p.m., and then Nashville recording star Wilson Fairchild sharing the stage with Donna Parsons at 8:30 p.m. Parsons, of Palmerton, has recorded songs which climbed the independent country charts.

Judging of 4-H market swines occurred yesterda, along with beef, steer, and dairy cow competition.

Luke Graver of Lehighton raised the grand champion hog, while Vanessa Hyska of Lehighton took first place for her category in steer competition.

Present for Graver's auction was his grandfather, Robert "Bob" Miller, who earlier this year had been critically hurt when a tractor fell on him.

Thanks to a strong will and extensive rehabilitation, he said, "It's great to be here."

Miller has been a fixture at local fairs as well as the Pa. State Farm Show for over 60 years.

The annual livestock auction of grand champion animals occurs at 1 p.m. Saturday.

A luncheon for buyers will be hosted by the 4-H members at 11 a.m.

Gates open for the fair at 3 p.m. daily.